Report: Former Cardinals HC Steve Wilks visits Browns for DC job
Before he was the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals, Steve Wilks was the defensive coordinator for the Carolina Panthers. The Cardinals hired him away for the 2018 season to replace Bruce Arians, getting the coach of the Panthers’ seventh-ranked defense in 2017.
Two years later, Wilks could find himself in that same position once again with a different organization, as ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that Wilks was heading to Cleveland to meet with the Browns for their vacant defensive coordinator position.
Wilks was fired after leading Arizona to a league-worst 3-13 record in which the team went through two offensive coordinators, two starting quarterbacks and a rash of injuries and inconsistent play.
“The fact we went backwards on both offense and defense,” ended Wilks’ time with the Cardinals, according to president Michael Bidwill. “Looking at his plan for 2019, I just didn’t feel like it was a plan I wanted to get behind, that would turn us around and get us back to the type of football that we expect and our fans deserve.”
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the meeting must have gone well as it was reported the former Cardinals coach and the Browns were working on a deal Friday afternoon.
Arizona finished 2018 with the worst scoring offense of 32 teams (14.1 points per game) and 26th in scoring defense (26.6 points per game).
Under Wilks and defensive coordinator Al Holcomb, the Cardinals had the worst rushing defense per game (154.9), which negated any good things they did by allowing the fourth-fewest passing yards per game (203.9).
The Browns defensive coordinator opening was vacated after Gregg Williams, who began 2018 as the team’s defensive coordinator, was elevated to interim head coach in the wake of Hue Jackson’s firing. Williams himself was fired at the conclusion of the season and replaced by Freddie Kitchens, the former Arizona assistant and Browns offensive coordinator.